Back in 2003, Iggy Pop and The Stooges reconvened after nearly 30 years, rewriting a narrative that originally ended with drug abuse and the abrupt dispersal of rock’s seminal proto-punk outfit. Since then, Pop and Co. have maintained a maddening schedule, culminating in last year’s LP Ready to Die and a world tour.
Recently, Pop has all but the brakes on the reunion train until sometime next year, citing a need for some time off. So, what’s a band to do when their lead singer’s off relaxing, using Ab Flex, and/or experimenting with holiday video cards? Recruit some A-list collaborators for a new album.
As Rolling Stone reports, Re-Licked will feature recordings of songs written during the same time as 1973’s Raw Power. Stooges guitarist James Williamson, bassist Mike Watt, sax player Steve Mackay, and touring timekeeper Toby Dammit recorded the material in Dave Grohl’s 606 Studios in Northridge, CA. They were joined by a cavalcade of guest vocalists, including Mark Lanegan, Jello Biafra, Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes, Bosnian Rainbows), Mario Cuomo (of The Orwells), Ariel Pink, and Carolyn Wonderland.
As Exclaim points out, several of the songs were performed live during the ’70s, some of which (“Open Up and Bleed,”, “I Got a Right”, “Heavy Liquid”, “She Creatures of the Hollywood Hills”, and “Wild Love”) have appeared on sporadic bootlegs through the years. “Some of the arrangements have been changed a bit and there’s a few lyrical tweaks,” Williamson said, “but pretty much they’re true to the originals.” The band has eight tracks finished, with another five to be recorded in the near future.
As Williamson, who rejoined the band in 2009, explained, Pop has given his unfettered approval since day one. “He gave me his blessing and wished me success,” he told Rolling Stone. “But it’s a hard pill to swallow when someone is doing all your songs with your band and you’re not on it. I think he’s cool with it so far. We’ll see how things progress…I hope he maintains his positive attitude.”
When news of the project surfaced late last week, though, Pop’s representatives originally told Rolling Stone, “Iggy was never given an opportunity to participate on the album. He found out about the project in December of 2013 after it was rejected by an Australian label.”
Since then, Pop’s issued another statement, this time seemingly backing up Williamson’s claims that it’s all copacetic. For the most part, anyways:
I don’t have a problem with anything, I don’t oppose anything. This statement about the ‘hard pill’ sounds kind of passive aggressive to me. The guys in the touring group have been phoning and emailing me and my rep before during and after the recordings, wondering how I felt about this. These guys are my friends and we’ve all worked together many years. I am glad someone is paying them; they are working musicians and they need to play. I want to thank all the wonderful singers on this record for covering my songs.
Re-Licked should arrive August or September. For Record Store Day (April 19th), the band is issuing a teaser 7-inch featuring “Open Up and Bleed” b/w “Gimme Some Skin”, with Wonderland on vocals. Below, preview the A-side: